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4 Must-Have Features to Look for in an SFTP Server
Martin Horan

By: Martin Horan on April 18th, 2018

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4 Must-Have Features to Look for in an SFTP Server

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Are you looking for a new SFTP solution for your business? When you simply Google “SFTP server” more than a million links come up. It’s easy to get lost in all of the available options when you’re researching an SFTP solution.

Before you start looking, you need to set a few guidelines that will help you narrow down your choices, and ultimately choose the best option for your business. Explore these four must-have features you should look for when considering an SFTP server.

1. It’s Secure

First and foremost, you need an SFTP solution that’s secure. For businesses that work with sensitive data, security is imperative. Don’t put your data at risk by choosing the wrong SFTP server.

There are two aspects of SFTP server security that you should be interested in: digital security and physical security. When it comes to digital security, look for a solution with features like:

  • Strong firewalls
    • Dedicated to SFTP security, not just perimeter protection from the data center.
  • Data encryption
    • Both in transit and at rest.
  • IP address restrictions
    • Both site wide by country (geo IP) and per individual user (IP or IP range).
  • Strict password requirements
  • Multi-factor authentication methods
  • Granular folder access controls

Each of these features play a role in keeping unintended parties at bay. Top cloud SFTP providers go to great lengths to protect data from potential breaches. You’ll rest easy knowing you have a team of experts working to keep your data safe.

Secondly, you need to research the physical security measures that the SFTP hosts take to protect their servers. When you choose a private SFTP cloud storage solution, you know exactly where the servers are housed, either domestically or internationally. Some compliance mandates, like ITAR, are strict about server location, so talk to the hosts you’re considering about their server policies before you make a decision.

 

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2. It’s Convenient

Today, convenience is a hot commodity. Every company is looking for solutions and processes that make life more convenient for the valued workers they don’t want to lose and the skilled workers they want to attract. The option to work from home could be the competitive advantage you have over another business vying for the same pool of potential employees.

Because more and more companies are enabling people to work remote today, a trend that’s sure to continue, you need an SFTP server that can facilitate remote work. With the right cloud SFTP server, you won’t have to compromise security for convenience. Your employees can access your SFTP server from anywhere, using their laptops or mobile devices.

Another aspect of convenience you should consider is branding capabilities. You want to your clients and your employees to log into a seamlessly branded SFTP solution, with your own logo, colors, and your domain name (like sftp.yourdomain.com). This garners trust with your users, because they feel like they’re still on your site.

Finally, you need to ensure you’re investing in an SFTP solution that is user-friendly. When you’re adopting a new solution, your employees are facing a lot of change and transition. Make sure you’re choosing a server that cuts down on training time.

 

3. It’s Cost Effective

Price is always a major factor when company leaders are making decisions. Before you choose an SFTP server, you need to do a thorough cost comparison to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Be sure to steer clear of building your own SFTP solution. Investing in your own servers and hardware can come at a high price, and you’re also on the hook for any future maintenance costs. This requires a large upfront investment and the costs don’t subside once the server is working and ready for use. When you weigh those ongoing costs against a hosted SFTP server, it’s easy to see which option offers the best deal.

With a hosted cloud SFTP server, you pay a monthly fee for the plan that’s ideal for your company’s needs. You avoid investing in expensive equipment and software, and you still reap the benefits of using a reliable file sharing solution. Your file sharing solution will be up and running in no time when you partner with a top SFTP host.

 

4. It’s Scalable

Scalability is a benefit that’s often overlooked. Many buyers are thinking about the SFTP server they need today, not the one they'll need in five or ten years. Look for an SFTP solution that is easy to scale in the following ways:

  • Unlimited Bandwidth – Never choose an SFTP server that puts limitations (per month or per second) on the amount of bandwidth you can use. This is only going to slow down your file sharing process. Look for a solution that enables you to upload as many files as needed.
  • Unlimited Simultaneous Connections – All of your users should be able to access your SFTP solution at the same time. If a file sharing solution puts a cap on the number of users that have access to a solution at one time, that’s not the right solution for you.
  • Unlimited File Sizes – Whether you’re uploading a small file with a few pages or a large file with a lot of data, your SFTP solution should be able to facilitate the upload. Stay away from SFTP solutions that have restrictions on the size of files you can upload, so you don’t need to break up important files or use unsafe sharing methods.
  • Live Scalability and Upgrades – Imagine needing to send a crucial file, only to be told your server is down for updates. Choose an SFTP server that has live scalability updates and performance upgrades. This allows you to keep working, even when major improvements are going on behind the scenes.

Each of these scalability requirements are hard to meet with an on-site FTP solution. With an on-site solution, you may not have the storage to immediately support your business as it grows. You’re required to invest in new equipment to facilitate growth. While you may have a growing business, you might not have the available cash flow to make these purchases. Your growth is hindered due to an inadequate SFTP server.

With the right SFTP cloud storage solution, you can instantly add or reduce storage and the number of users based on your business needs. With a few clicks, your host can increase or decrease the number of users your solution facilitates or the amount of storage it provides. Your progress will never be slowed down by a SFTP server that no longer meets your needs.

As you search for the right SFTP server for your business, keep these four must-have features in mind. When you find a solution that meets all of these requirements, you’ll know you’ve found the right option.

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About Martin Horan

Founder of FTP Today and an expert in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.